A minimum of 2,000 hours (accrued at the time of application submission) of health care experience in a position of responsibility is expected of all applicants. The 2,000 hours is the equivalent of one year of full time or a combination of many years of part time health care experience. Health care experience must be obtained with in the last 10 years to be considered. Experiences older than 10 years will not count towards the overall health care experience hours. The experience can be obtained through paid or volunteer positions and hours obtained as a student (for credit) or for certification cannot be counted toward the 2,000-hour minimum expectation.
The PA Program considers shadowing to be an important part of career exploration and acknowledge that not every applicant is able to complete a multitude of shadowing hours or experiences. Although highly valued, shadowing does not count toward the total number of hours.
Health Care Experience evaluation
The PA Program excepts and encourages a wide range of health care experiences. Although all health care positions bring value to an applicant’s overall experience, preference is given to health care experience involving direct, 'hands-on' patient care, working with acutely sick or injured patients in a hospital or clinical setting. The 2000 hour minimum should be fulfilled by mostly direct patient care or in combination with health care related experience. Up to 1000 hours of health care related experience can count towards the overall evaluation.
Health care experiences vary greatly and experience is evaluated based on the relevance to direct patient care and the criteria listed below. Applicants are encouraged to be very detailed in their description of health care positions in their CASPA application.
Health care experience is evaluated on the following criteria:
- direct patient care or health care-related experience
- total number of hours (paid or unpaid)
- workplace setting
- specific duties performed and/or skills acquired
- patient population
- level of supervision
- relevance to the PA profession
Types of health care experience
We offer the types of experience below as suggested avenues for obtaining health care experience. This list is not intended to be inclusive of all experiences that are acceptable, so there are other experiences that will be accepted that are not listed. Health Care Related experiences/duties alone are not considered competitive and are therefore recommended to be combined with roles that include direct patient care duties.
Many of the positions below are a combination of direct patient care and health care related duties. They are classified by what is generally the majority of the position's duty type. This can vary depending on your specific position, so please use the criteria above when determining the type of experience you'll gain prior to applying to the program.
Direct patient care
- Medical Assistant (MA)
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA I or II)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Emergency Room Technician (ER Tech)
- Other Hospital Tech positions (Ultrasound, Patient Care Tech, etc.)
- Medic or Medical Corpsman
- Clinical Dietitian
- Physical Therapy Aide
Health care related
- Lab Assistant/Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS)
- Peace Corps Volunteer
- Clinical Research Assistant
- Community Health Researcher
- Medical Technologist
- Newborn Hearing Screener
- Care Coordinator
- Clinic Receptionist/Office Manager/Scheduler
- Patient Transport
- Medical Interpreter
- Pharmacy Technician